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Thursday, April 10, 2014

Jury Awards $9 Billion in Damages in Drug Case

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In one of the biggest damages verdicts ever imposed, a jury in Louisiana has ordered a Japanese drug maker and its American partner to pay a combined $9 billion in punitive damages over a diabetes drug that has been linked to cancer.

Jurors in a district court trial in Lafayette, La., ordered the Japanese company, Takeda Pharmaceutical, to pay $6 billion in punitive damages on Monday after finding that the company had hidden the cancer risks of its drug, Actos.

The jury also ordered Takeda’s partner, Eli Lilly, which once marketed the drug in the United States, to pay $3 billion.

Both Takeda and Lilly said they disagreed with the verdict and would fight it. Under the companies’ contract, Lilly is indemnified by Takeda, and so would not have to pay any damages.

“Takeda respectfully disagrees with the verdict, and we intend to vigorously challenge this outcome through all available legal means,” Kenneth D. Greisman, senior vice president of Takeda’s American subsidiary, said in a statement.

In its decision, the jury found that Takeda became aware of links between Actos and bladder cancer early in the 2000s, but withheld that information from patients and doctors. The jury was deciding on a lawsuit filed by a man who had bladder cancer diagnosed in 2011 after using Actos for several years.

The lawsuit is one of thousands that Takeda faces over the drug, once one of the company’s best-selling products. Court documents said Actos, also called...

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